How I helped Tim Baron redesign his illustration portfolio website
Tim is a lifelong artist and friend of mine. His work has been featured in The Goldbergs and he's had art purchased by many celebrities. He had a problem though, the Squarespace website he had built a few years ago was limiting him ways that could impact his business. He and I talked about how I could help him create a more intentionally designed website that would help him showcase his work, connect with fans and generate new client leads.
She told me it sucks
Squarespace is a great product that enables so many people to create a home online for their passions. However, for many, the simplicity of Squarespace can often make it hard to see what's possible. Tim had leveraged a pre-built template that worked really well for him at the start but was in many ways showing it's age and lacked the feel of a pro artist. He mentioned to me the biggest issue is that one recruiter had mentioned that his website sucked, so we set out to change that.
Redefining the Space
From the few screens I posted above, you can see that while the site was functional, i t didn't work as a device to communicate who Tim is as an illistrator, creative and mentor. What we need to do was fix the small issues, like the left alignment and the long line lenghts.
After knocking out those low hanging fruit we needed to look at how we could make the website feel more like an intentional space for displaying Tims work. The first, is a logo. But not just a basic logo, it needed to be something that blended with the monster illistration vibe. Good thing Tim knows all about this. Up next, I had the idea to take over the mouse and replace it with a pointer finger that Tim would create. Enter.. the zombie pointer.
Creating a brand
From the few screens I posted above, you can see that while the site was functional, the simplicity of it was devoid of a brand that connected Tim's audience to his work. We wanted to create a space that represented Tim as an illustrator, creative, and mentor.
The first thing we set out to do was build a brand for Tim. I'm not a branding expert, but I felt like we could do a few things that moved us in that direction. First, we needed a logo. Tim illustrated his name in a way that felt consistent with the typography he creates in his work. After that, I had him make a new pointer finger that we could use to replace the mouse for his visitors. He came back with this rad zombie pointer that I could not wait to get working.
I found a new typeface that felt more engaging than the stock types provided in the template. I updated the site to use a new, larger type scale. Then we addressed what was wrong with the template from the start, the left alignment, and the small grid to show off his work. Luckily these were just switches we had to flip in order to make a better overall visual presentation.
Finally, Tim wrote new content for the About and Contact pages that paired with a new layout that felt more engaging due to their placement within the story of his life and work.
In the end, I think we nailed the refresh. The site now feels like it's more connected to the work that Tim does every day, without distracting from it. It's full of small little things that will make his fans enjoy the site and keep coming back for more. Last but not least, Time emailed the recruiter a link to the site and said it was updated, she responded with glowing compliments.